I’ve spent the last five hours chasing down protesters to get them on the record telling me what they are demonstrating against. About 300 students here left their schools early this morning and marched to the courthouse where they held a rally to speak out against the senate bill HR4437, passed earlier this week. The bill, which has sparked demonstrations throughout the country, will change the lives of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the nation. The sweeping immigration reform bill would make it a crime for citizens to house illegal immigrants and will make it more difficult for immigrants to receive citizenship. In addition border patrol will be doubled in the next several years.

Watching these protests take place made me remember what it was like to be young and still think protesting could make a difference. All of these people are out here saying they want their voices heard, but something the superintendent said struck me with major force. “They want their voices to be heard. They’re out here protesting, but nobody in Washington is listening,” she said. “If they want something to be done then they should be writing letters, that’s what will make a difference.”

I wanted to believe she was right, but I’ve been jaded in recent years. I used to attend protests. I used to write to my senators on the daily. Any subject or legislation I thought needed to be changed I’d write them about. Until one day I just thought to myself that it didn’t make a bit of difference. I’d like to see things change as much as anybody but I just don’t feel like it will. Even so, I was inspired today by these kids’ enthusiasm. Getting youth involved in politics and making them believe they CAN make a difference means so much to continuing the democratic process in this country.

While I don’t think it will make much of a difference, I think it’s a start. Today is Cesar Chavez day. I’m sure when he started rallying people together, asking for change and demanding justice, nobody thought we’d be celebrating him as a leader for change in immigrant labor for our state. One person. He was one person and he started an entire movement. One person saying he wasn’t going to allow continued injustices. One person willing to fight. It may not seem like much, but it can inspire hundreds. These kids out here may not make a difference today, but who knows what they will do in the future.

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